Proliferating subdirectories

Charles Muller Apr 6, 2012 1:37:58 PM

I'd like to put my ideas on folders and subfolders out there as a way of trying to establish some kind of basic principle. My view is that given Zotero's very effective search via keywords, it is not useful to keep extending subfolders further and further--most people will not access the information by navigating through folders, but by author or keyword searches. Therefore, I don't think we should make a Dogen folder under Zen, or a Sanlun folder under Madhyamaka. I also question the creation of a subfolder for Silk road, thinking it perhaps better to simply apply "Silk Road" keyword tags on entries contained under China or Central Asia.

What do others think?


Charles Muller Apr 6, 2012 1:48:25 PM

Addendum to the above: No matter what everyone's opinion on the proliferation (or not) of folders, as I explained in my opening message on H-Buddhism, I think that the establishment of new categories is something we should discuss in advance, and not do arbitrarily. Already this new "Sanlun School" folder has items that just as easily belong under Madhyamaka. -- Chuck

Charles Muller Apr 6, 2012 2:27:05 PM

Or (let me toss one more idea out there...), perhaps this whole idea of folders is not really matching to the way Zotero works, with its fast search functions, and with its emphasis on tags. I am spending endless hours dragging each item to two or three categories, then removing it from "NotYetCategorized," while they keep pouring in. Perhaps we should just dump everything in one directory, and be done with it (it would also be easier to clear up duplicates this way). People could categorize on their own desktop the way they like for their own output, when they like.

What do you think? -- Chuck

William Deal Apr 6, 2012 2:36:43 PM

It does strike me that trying to create subfolders is a losing battle. Many entries will need to be in more than one folder. On the other hand, the root folder contains everything in the database, regardless of how many other sub-folders are created. And a reference can be placed in multiple subfolders. Subfolders seem to work much like folders/tags in Gmail. In any event, one could use the subfolders, or ignore them and just use the root folder, searching by fields and tags. Left to proliferate, though, the subfolders are likely to become a mess, especially since there will undoubtedly be a lack of consensus on how they should be organized.

-- Bill

William J Giddings Apr 6, 2012 4:19:15 PM

I think that tags are the best way forward. As suggested, multiple tags can be assigned to an entry and, conveniently, Zotero will keep a list of already used tags from which contributors can select.


Charles Muller Apr 7, 2012 4:47:35 AM

Indeed. Trying to continually categorize things (and there are more than a few items that defy categorization) is like shoveling shit against the tide. I'll wait another day or so, and unless someone comes up with a convincing argument for maintaining the categories, I think I'll do away with them. -- Chuck


Charles Muller Apr 8, 2012 2:11:25 PM

OK, with no further responses on the matter, I've deleted all those arbitrary folders. For the folders that had developed a bit, I exported the data and put tags on it, so we didn't lose any information in the process.